The Ledes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

New York Times: "The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish an inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories at a special session on Wednesday in which the top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Israel and Hamas had likely committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians." ...

... New York Times: "As the death toll mounts and passions spike, the Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned on Wednesday what it called 'deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists' who are reporting on the fighting in Gaza. That includes 'forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments,' the association said."

... New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Israel on Wednesday, as he pressed his effort to forge a cease-fire to bring a halt to the bitter fighting in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Kerry’s plane touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport just a day after the United States Federal Aviation Administration suspended American civilian flights to Israel." ...

... Guardian: "International airlines halted flights to and from Israel indefinitely on Tuesday citing security concerns in an unexpected twist to the two-week-old conflict in Gaza." ...

     ... CW: Guess that puts something of a damper on the Summer Vacation Insurance Theory of War. ...

... Washington Post: "As Israel pummels Hamas’s infrastructure inside Gaza, it is also trying to prevent attacks originating from the West Bank and Israel — by obliterating the houses of the relatives of Palestinians who allegedly have harmed Israelis. In doing so, Israel’s military has returned to a controversial policy of punitive demolitions that has displaced thousands of Palestinians over the years."

Washington Post: "Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said." ...

... Time: "U.S. intelligence resources tracked the 'specific missile' that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a senior Administration official said Tuesday, saying intelligence adds up to a picture that 'implicates Russia' in helping to bring down the plane." ...

... Washington Post: "The Obama administration, detailing what it called evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner, on Tuesday released satellite images and other sensitive intelligence that officials say show Moscow had trained and equipped rebels in Ukraine responsible for the attack."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Washington Post: "The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday afternoon ordered U.S. carriers to stop flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, prohibiting them from traveling through Israel’s largest airport after a rocket landed nearby."

Reuters: "Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 500 lives. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in neighboring Egypt, while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Israel later in the day. Both have voiced alarm at mounting civilian casualties."

New York Times: "A train carrying the bodies of victims from the Malaysia Airlines jet downed by a missile last week arrived Tuesday morning in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv after a 17-hour journey out of lawless territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels." ...

... New York Times: "A piece of wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 that was shot down in eastern Ukraine last week bears telltale marks of small pieces of high-velocity shrapnel that apparently crippled the jet in flight. Riddled with these perforations and buffeted by a blast wave as it flew high above the conflict zone, the plane then most likely sheared apart."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 23

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the NAACP national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (audio only)

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Whole Food Business Model: We Cheat You, But Not so Much You'll Notice. Shan Li of the Los Angeles Times: "Whole Foods Market is paying $800,000 in penalties after an investigation found the supermarket chain overcharged customers throughout California. During a yearlong investigation, state and local inspectors found the Austin, Texas, grocer charged more than advertised for a wide range of food products, according to a statement from the Santa Monica city attorney's office. Problems included failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up fresh food, putting smaller amounts into packages than the weight stated on the label, and selling items by the piece instead of by the pound, as required by law, the statement said.... 'Based on a review of our own records and a sampling of inspection reports .... our pricing on weighed and measured items was accurate 98% of the time,' the company said in a Tuesday statement." ...

... CW: Besides, if you shop at Whole Foods -- at no charge to you -- you can learn that unions are like herpes, ObamaCare is a form of fascism & climate change is "perfectly natural."

Teenaged curiosity about sex is quite natural, but it can be a bummer.The Vagina Dialog. Turned out to Require a Large Cast of Supporting Characters. Jen Kirby of New York: "An American student studying abroad in Germany captured the world's attention yesterday by achieving the remarkable feat of getting himself stuck in a giant vagina sculpture and needing 22 firefighters to rescue him. But Fernando de la Jara, the artist behind the now-infamous work, took it all in stride.... 'It's participatory art,' de la Jara said. 'It should be entered.'"

 

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Thursday
Apr192012

The Commentariat -- April 20, 2012

My column in the New York Times eXaminer is titled "The Gospel According to Gutting -- Is Confusing." It's a response to a Times op-ed post by philosopher Gary Gutting. I usually find Gutting informative, but this time he was way off the mark. The NYTX front page is here. You can contribute here.

Quote of the Day. People ask me, ‘Why don’t you guys get together?’ And I say, ‘Exactly how much would you expect me to cooperate with Michele Bachmann?’ And they say, ‘Are you saying they’re all Michele Bachmann?’ And my answer is, ‘No, they’re not all Michele Bachmann. Half of them are Michele Bachmann. The other half are afraid of losing a primary to Michele Bachmann.’ -- Barney Frank (D-Mass.)

Annie Lowrey of the New York Times: "Some of the same spoilers that interrupted the recovery in 2010 and 2011 have emerged again, raising fears that the winter's economic strength might dissipate in the spring."

Evan McMorris-Santoro of TPM: the NRA deleted the Ted Nugent videos from their Website yesterday, in advance of Nugent's meeting with the Secret Service about his incendiary comments. CW: I doubt the NRA has gone all sensitive; they probably just don't want the Secret Service hauling them in for disseminating this crap.

Melissa Russo of NBC New York: a Marist College student pollster calls 911 & saves the life of a woman he phoned who was going into diabetic shock when she picked up the phone.

The Presidential Race

 

It is kinda ironic given that [Mitt Romney's] family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy. Women are not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico. -- Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Montana), agreeing with a remark by Daily Beast reporter Ben Jacobs

Attacking a candidate's religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it, and we don't think others should either. -- Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokesperson

Noam Scheiber of The New Republic on Team Obama's hardball tactics: "... the new ruthlessness is actually a sign of maturity."

Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP: "It isn't Mitt Romney who's giving Barack Obama fits as the president moves into re-election mode. It's those federal bureaucrats carousing in Las Vegas, the Secret Service consorting with Colombian prostitutes and U.S. soldiers posing with bloody enemy corpses. The scandals are taking a toll. They are distracting embarrassments that are dominating public attention while Obama seeks to focus on difficulties abroad and jobs at home. And they are giving Republicans an opportunity to question his competence and leadership, an opening for Romney in a race so close that any advantage might make a difference."

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: The latest New York Times/CBS poll shows that among registered voters, "President Obama's progressive vision of government trumps Mitt Romney's trickle-down philosophy.... According to the poll, voters clearly believe government should be doing more, not less, to strengthen the economy and the middle-class.... Perhaps the answer is that contrary to conventional wisdom, President Obama is the one would benefit from this campaign being about economic ideas, while Mitt Romney is the one who benefits from trivia and distraction.

Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post: "Just a day after President Obama visited this crucial swing state, Mitt Romney spoke at a shuttered drywall company visited four years ago by then-candidate Obama to make the argument that Obama’s record has yet to live up to his lofty rhetoric.... Romney laid the blame for the company’s fate squarely on Obama.... The company actually shut down in June 2008, months before Obama took office....." ...

... Steve Benen: "Asked about this, Eric Etch-A-Sketch Fehrnstrom [Romney's campaign spokesman] said, 'The fact that [the economy] struggled through the last three years is not the fault of Barack Obama's predecessor; it's the fault of this administration and the failure of their policies to really get this economy going again.' This is simply incoherent for anyone who cares about reality."

David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix catches Mitt Romney in a pretty big Red Sox fib. A misstatement about he Sox did in Massachusetts U.S. senatorial candidate Martha Coakley; could Romney's lie affect the presidential election? I doubt it, but Bernstein's analysis of Romney's patterns of lying (Bernstein IDs two) is an interesting read. ...

... AND Yet Another Romney Lie. Juliet Lapidos of the New York Times: Romney & his spokesman Fehrnstrom are telling the press that Romney won't release more than two years of tax returns because that's all Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry released when he ran in 2004. Only that isn't true. Kerry released between seven & ten years of returns. CW: BTW, I think Kerry & his wife Teresa Heinz are richer than the Romneys, so it's not as if Kerry wanted to release his returns (my recollection is that Heinz -- who keeps her income separate from her husband's -- didn't release her returns).

Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast: Tom "Friedman and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby, whom Friedman quoted, and others in the center-left orbit they inhabit genuinely seem to believe that if Barack Obama put a bold and comprehensive tax-reform plan on the table, the Republicans would be forced to respond and negotiate in good faith. But this is pure fantasy. All that would happen would be that Obama would cost himself loads of political capital, and the center of gravity on the subject of taxation would again be pushed to the right. That isn’t just bad for Obama, which is a second-order concern; it would be horrible for the country." ...

... CW: Oh, this is heartbreaking. Ned Martel of the Washington Post on Americans Elect, the sleazy operation that is promoting a third-party candidate. "Last week was supposed to be the first week of online voting on the Americans Elect site, when anyone anywhere could click to endorse practiced politicians or to draft neophytes. But the candidate choices have remained decidedly low-profile, and traffic is meager on the site, which cost $9 million to construct. Scrambling to avert failure, Americans Elect has postponed online voting for a month." Martel, BTW, describes Doug Schoen as a "Democratic pollster; that's like describing Karl Rove as a Democratic operative.

Right Wing World *

Maggie Haberman of Politico: "American Crossroads, the pro-Republican super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and its nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS, will announce $100 million raised for both so far through the 2012 cycle...."

* Where who screams loudest wins. -- Akhilleus

News Ledes

New York Times: "The police arrested a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who were lying on a sidewalk at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street on Friday afternoon after one demonstrator announced that the law allowed them to do so as a form of political protest."

New York Times: "Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in the sentencing of a man [Marcus Reymond Robinson] to death [in Fayetteville, North Carolina] 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that the convict’s sentence be reduced to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act."

New York Times: "International pressure for a harsher line on Syria escalated Thursday, with the president of France calling the Syrian leader a liar, the American secretary of state moving a step closer to endorsing use of military force, and the head of the United Nations accusing the Syrian government of failing to carry out nearly every element of a peace plan that went into effect a week ago."

Washington Post: David Randall Chaney, "one of the Secret Service supervisors ousted from the agency this week for their involvement in the Colombia prostitution scandal, made light of his official protective work on his Facebook page, joking about a picture of himself standing watch behind Sarah Palin.... Several people familiar with the matter have identified the other supervisor as Greg Stokes, who was assistant special agent in charge of the K-9 division. Stokes has been notified by agency officials that he will be fired, although he will be given an opportunity to contest the charges...."

... New York Times: "The Secret Service's investigation into alleged misconduct with prostitutes by agency personnel in advance of President Obama’s trip to Colombia last week has been expanded to determine if the misconduct was confined to the 11 employees who were first tied to the scandal, according to a senior American official." ...

     ... Update: "The director of the Secret Service has told lawmakers that at least two more members of the agency will be dismissed in connection with alleged misconduct with prostitutes in Colombia last week.... The spokesman for the United States Southern Command in Miami released a statement on Friday saying that the military officer in charge of investigating the alleged misconduct is scrutinizing 11 service members -- one more than had previously been disclosed."

New York Times: "A United States helicopter crashed in bad weather in southern Afghanistan on Thursday after it responded to evacuate Afghan police officers wounded in a suicide attack on a police checkpoint, an Afghan official said. Two Afghan officials said the crash killed four Americans. Late on Thursday, however, NATO confirmed only that one of its helicopters had crashed in southern Afghanistan. It said on Friday that its investigation was ongoing, and would not say whether those on board had been killed nor confirm their nationality." ...

ABC News: "A new photograph obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the bloodied back of George Zimmerman's head, which was taken three minutes after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, gives possible credence to his claim that Martin had bashed his head against the concrete as he fought for his life." With video. Linked page links to photo. ...

... AP: George Zimmerman "is asking a Florida judge to let him out of jail while he awaits trial, and legal experts say he stands a good chance of being granted bail at the hearing Friday." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Speaking publicly for the first time, George Zimmerman ... briefly took the witness stand at his bail hearing on Friday and apologized to Mr. Martin’s parents." The judge set Zimmerman's bail at $150,000, "considerably lower than the $1 million requested by prosecutors."

NEW. Philadelphia Inquirer: "Complaining that he was blindsided while on church business in the Vatican, the bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va. [Michael J. Bransfield], on Thursday angrily denied trial testimony in Philadelphia alleging that he sexually abused a child during the late 1970s."

AP: "Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik took to the Internet to learn how to carry out a bombing-and-shooting rampage, studying attacks by al-Qaida, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center."

Washington Post: "By noon Friday, Cairo's Tahrir Square ... was packed with Egyptian protesters, promising to be one of the largest demonstrations since the 18-day revolt last year.... The rally was called by liberals to reject the nomination of Mubarak-era figures in the presidential race. But by Friday it had morphed into a rally against the ruling military council and included a cross-section of Egypt's society with differing and competing messages."

CNN: "The U.S. Secret Service said Thursday that it has resolved any questions regarding rocker Ted Nugent, whom its agents interviewed after he said he would be 'dead or in jail' if President Barack Obama were re-elected. 'The issue has been resolved,' and the agency 'does not anticipate any further action,' Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told CNN after the interview."

Reader Comments (9)

Mitt the nit is the perfect source for the truth... that is the truth that religion is not the source of morality. I have been following politics for a very long time. I have never seen a candidate for anything who lies like Romney. It's every day, in every way. And when you hear the Red Sox story it becomes clear that we are dealing with serious mental problems.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Marvin, it appears to me that Romney has a real fear of being irrelevant. He seems to want to join every group, to be an insider in every conversation. A true chameleon, as he seems to be, may be confused to learn that what he considers social graces others consider lies.

When I watch him in the act of blending in, he looks very much like a teenager who feels different than his peers and wants desperately not to be found out. He's like the closeted gay man who talks about "big racks" or the New Jersey transplant to the Deep South who has to use the "n" word more than those around him.

So, it's entirely possible that each "stretch" and outright lie is merely a manifestation of the Romney survival mechanism. Sam Harris's recent extended essay, "Lying," makes the case that honesty is always the best policy because (among other reasons) telling even an innocuous lie makes lying easier in the next tight situation. Lies told then become part of one's own mythology. The truth becomes whatever is appropriate to survive in the moment.

So, Romney tells a hunter that he's also a hunter, although he isn't; he tells a baseball fan that he was at an iconic event, although he wasn't; he tells information-challenged Republicans lies about Obama, not because those lies are true but because it makes his audience feel good.

And when they feel good, they like him. They really like him.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

@Jack: Interesting take on the Romney critter. Made me think about those people we contemptuously called "pleasers," so desperate for other's approval, their whole life was a head-nod of agreement.

Being raised in a social/religious environment so far outside the mainstream may have contributed to the urge. His single-minded pursuit, maybe worship, of money (a common Mormon trait) could be seen as the most direct path to acceptance (and power) in an amoral--some would say immoral--capitalist culture. In the what makes Mitt tick category it would also be interesting to know what led him to leave Stanford after his freshman year to return to the Utah womb, just as the anti-Vietnam protests were heating up, a trend I would guess anathema to most of his religious/cultural persuasion.

Finally, Washington Post's Richard Cohen might have said all that needs to be said about Romney's one-a-day lies: in the corporate business culture, lying is standard behavior, hence taken for granted, and Romney keeps saying the wants to run the country like a business, so he's just keeping in practice.

Beyond that, it's another chicken or egg thing. Are the most needy most likely to lie their way to power, or does the prospect of power attract the most needy? Scary either way.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Apologies for the length--but here's a very partial list of Romney's lies:


1. "The president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending."
2. "This president has opened up no new markets for American goods 
around the world in his three years, even as European nations and China have opened up 44."
3. "We've got a president in office three years, and he does not have a jobs plan yet.
4. "Our navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917."
5. "Don't forget who it was that cut Medicare by $500 billion. And that was President Obama, to pay for Obamacare."
6. "I went off on my own. I didn’t inherit money from my parents."
7. "While we’ve got $15 trillion of debt, [the president] said, 
 'Look, I’m going to put another $1 trillion of debt for Obamacare.'"
8. "I stood as a pro-life governor.”
9. "I'm concerned about the poor in this country. We have to make 
 sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can't 
 help themselves. “
10. I’m "someone who's lived in the real streets of America."
11. “[W]hen the president went around at the beginning of his term and apologized for America around the world, it made us just heartsick.”
12. “I’ve still got the same positions on the issues I had four years ago. My record as governor and my positions are pretty darn conservative.”
13. “[At Bain Capital], we helped create over 100,000 new jobs.”
14. President Obama seeks “a ‘European-style welfare state’ to redistribute wealth and create ‘equal outcomes’ regardless of individual effort and success.”
15. “The National Labor Relations Board, now stacked with union stooges selected by the president, says to a free enterprise like Boeing, ‘You can’t build a factory in South Carolina, because South Carolina is a right-to-work state.’ That is simply un-American. It’s political payback of the worst kind.”

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Thanks for the commentary on Willard the Liar. Good theories, all. I do think that Willard is unable to distinguish the difference between the kind of nothing lies that all politicians -- and most of us -- tell & consequential lies. I'm sure when he lied to the pilot about his going to the Rex Sox World Series clincher, it never occurred to Willard that the fib would go any further than the cockpit.

If my eyes hold up, I'm going to my high school class's 50th reunion in a couple of weeks. I'm sure people I don't remember will tell me how much they had been looking forward to seeing me again -- and I'll tell them the same. We'll probably both be lying.

On the other hand, I am not one of the apparently tens of thousands of people who tell people they were at Woodstock when they weren't. So unlike Mitt, I wouldn't claim to have been to a big-deal Sox game I hadn't attended. If I were running against him, I would use his remarks or actions to make him look bad or even worse than he is, but I wouldn't just make up stuff about him out of whole cloth, as Willard does almost daily about Obama. There's a line, and Mitt always crosses it. I don't think he is even aware his lies are "bad behavior." He just writes them off as common & acceptable political expediency or, as Jack Mahoney says, as a means to "fit in." And, yes, this pattern may be partly the consequence of his outsider status.

As for the theory that this is the way all businessmen act, I think Willard went over the line there, too. Several months back, Bill Cohan, who used to write for the Times, wrote an op-ed -- maybe in the Post -- in which he said he had been a Wall Street deal negotiator when Willard was running Bain Capital, and after a few times of dealing with Bain, he cut them out of his Rolodex because the Bain people -- he didn't work directly with Romney -- were dirty, rotten scoundrels. They could not be trusted to keep their word. So even the Street has some standards, and the Romney gang didn't meet them. When you're sleazier than a Wall Street sleaze, you're pretty bad.

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

For all the hand wringing conservatives have done over Mittens not being as ideologically pure as they would like, perhaps the biggest thing he has in common with mainstream conservatism of the last decade or more is a pronounced and profound aptitude for lying.

Conservative causes are supported and given life by an unending cascade of falsehoods, half-truths, out of context, alarmist propaganda, and the good old everyday out and out lie.

Truth is too complicated for the simple storylines demanded by Conservative propagandists. An appreciation for the gray areas of life is not something cottoned to easily or willingly by those who control the Right’s mythologies. That’s for progressives, liberals, weenies, and other traitors to conservative rallying points of USA, USA, no taxes, Christian Nation, all regulation is bad, all business is good, war makes us strong, and disdain-if not out and out hate for outsiders.

Just look at the mountainous lies told by every single candidate during the Republican presidential primaries. Gardisil causes mental retardation. No taxes will balance the budget. Obama caused the recession. Global warming is a liberal hoax. Democrats are planning massive voter fraud. Obamacare will cost a trillion dollars. Death panels will let your granny die. Social Security is the source of all economic problems. Medicaid is the source of all economic problems. Obama is forcing gas prices through the roof. Satan is controlling America. Okay, there’s a difference between crazy and lying, but that last assertion, made my Rick Santorum, and many others like it, when mixed in with all the lies, make for a highly noxious and toxic brew.

Had Obama or a Democrat uttered a 10th of those whoppers, the MSM would be in overdrive for a year fact checking and reporting with breathless utterances the perfidious lies shoved down the throats of the American public. Fox would pee its collective pants for months on end.

Even the assertions made by those on the Right, awarded—with no discernible rationale—the soubriquet “serious person”—such as those made by Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, are rife with unsupported claims based on magical thinking and non-existent data. They just make it up, or else take existing numbers and twist them into pretzels.

But, okay, many politicians do crazy things with numbers. The problem with the type of lies from the right is the seriousness and complete falseness of the assertions and assumptions which they use to underpin their public policy decisions. In effect, they say whatever is necessary for them to win an argument, make a point, pass a law favorable to their ideology, and to make sure the other side is buried in a blizzard of lies. Eventually, even those not ideologically wedded to them think there must be something to what they say since the media has never seen fit (or is unable) to call them on any of these things.

Rupert Murdoch yesterday tweeted his sorrows to the world about how everyone is out to get him with lies and libel. Something he knows all about. Recent e-mails have surfaced detailingthe illegal depths to which he has stooped to destroy business competitors and raise up his own fortunes. Of course the Murdoch empire has long benefitted from continual, pathological lying. Just look at Fox.
So Romney’s love affair with fabrications, falsehoods, distortions, and dissimulation puts him deep inside the heart of the modern Conservative movement. He lies as easily as he breathes. And the fact that he lies about things that are easy to check (the Red Sox lie) indicates that, like most Conservative politicians, he’s not worried about ever being caught. In today’s media circus, a Republican telling a lie is about as newsworthy as rain in Seattle. When you have a situation in which a large percentage don’t care and another large group don’t know, it’s open season on the truth.

Romney and his lies could actually win this thing.

Then he’ll be Etch-a-Sketching all of us.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Call me suspicious but with 3 military scandals including pix,
I smell a republican rat.
This last one happened a few years ago, but the pictures are just coming to light?
I don't doubt they happened- but my money is on dirty tricks.
Mae Finch

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

I am frustrated beyond measure by the inability or unwillingness of the MSM to unmask even the most simple straightforward lies. Is it laziness? Incompetence? Wrongheaded ideological allegiance to "impartiality"? Sheer corruption? Why is that MSM outlets like CNN and USA Today continually, invariably give the right wingers a free pass to spout whatever they want to make up on the spot or in the back room with their media advisers?

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Wheels Up parties are a routine thing when large bunches of Secret
Service agents go abroad. The question is, who made this one an issue. Usually the big hotels keep problems quiet and handle things themselves. Who is behind exposing this party this time. Is it the Columbian Government?. Is it the Columbian opposition? Was there some American group pressing for this exposure. Really, someone had a hand in getting this routine revel to the front pages.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle
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